A Rental Car Hit Me – Now What?
Getting into a car accident is always stressful, even when the damage is minor. But when the crash was caused by someone driving a rental car, it can be more confusing. Where do you turn for insurance benefits? Will you have to deal with the driver, or will your insurance company do the legwork for you? And if you have significant injuries, how can you claim compensation for them?
The good news is that anyone driving a legally rented car will have insurance of some kind. Car rental agencies won’t allow anyone without insurance to get behind the wheel of their cars because it leaves them open for liability, too.
What Does Arizona Law Say?
Arizona cleared up a lot of these questions in July 2012. Up to that point, the insurance provided by the rental car company was treated as the primary insurance, meaning that injured parties would speak with the rental company’s insurer first in order to claim compensation. Because Arizona is a tort (at-fault) state, the insurance of the person who caused the accident would provide benefits for all injured parties.
Having to deal with a rental car company and insurance company, all while recovering from injuries and trying to coordinate car repairs, was a lot for the victim. In addition, the insurance provided by a rental car company only covered a minimum amount, meaning that another insurance company usually had to get involved. It was a long process. But for many years, that was the law.
But that changed in 2012 when our legislature passed SB 1153. This law makes the rental car’s insurance secondary insurance, meaning it will only apply if the rental car driver’s personal insurance policies don’t fully cover the damages.
All good news! So, what should drivers do when they’ve been hit by someone driving a rental car?
What Should You Do After a Rental Car Accident?
The first steps after being hit by a rental car are the same steps you’d follow if you were hit by any other vehicle.
- Seek medical treatment if you are injured. If your injuries are so severe you cannot make it to the hospital on your own, call 911 for an ambulance. But not before you exchange some important information with the other drivers involved.
- Get the full name and contact information of the rental car driver, as well as the name the rental car was rented in (if different from the driver’s). You should also ask for all applicable insurance policies including travel insurance, liability insurance, personal automotive insurance, and additional rental insurance provided by the rental car company.
- Note of the name and location of the rental car company. The driver may not be aware of the details of the rental company’s insurance policy, so you may have to contact them to get that information. And it’s always a good idea to make sure they are aware of the accident.
- Take pictures of the scene and get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
Once those steps have been taken care of, you should speak to your own insurance company. Once you have notified them of the accident, they will take over the case and speak to the car rental company or its insurer.
If you have serious injuries that the insurance won’t fully cover, and you need more compensation, try contacting an experienced Arizona car accident attorney. An attorney can help, and if you speak to him or her before contacting the insurance company, he or she can also speak to the insurer for you, which can be a huge relief. For a free consultation with the skilled attorneys at Breyer Law Offices, P.C., please call (602) 267-1280 today.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer